Why Warsi is wrong on Rupert

 

Straz, Jan 18th. L to R: RFH; Sir Winston Churchill; Rupert Matthews

I’ve just returned from a week in the European parliament in Strasbourg, where Rupert Matthews was a guest of the Conservative delegation.  But while the delegation made Rupert welcome in Strasbourg, Central Office has not had a lot to say to him, or to me, or to East Midlands Conservatives, recently.  But according to the BBC, “Conservative Central Office had earlier said it could not begin the process of selecting another MEP until Mr Helmer officially resigns”.

This illustrates CCHQ’s ignorant (or perhaps deliberate) determination to disregard the established euro-election process.  Their mind-set is relentlessly UK/Westminster-based, single-member/first-past-the-post.  Their attitude is simply irrelevant to the euro-regional-list/proportional-representation system.  In fact, of course, they don’t need to “start the process of selection”, because it was completed in 2008!

And even if they did need to start a new process, their determination not to start even when I’ve announced my intention to resign is just plain obstinacy and obstructionism.

At the risk of repetition, let’s recall that the East Midlands Conservative list was established in 2008, according to Party Rules, by an elaborate and expensive hustings-plus-postal-ballot system, to establish a ranked list of five candidates.  More than 3000 Party members voted.  That list exists, it is in place, and Rupert Matthews is Next-in-Line, Number Three on the list.  He is also a sound Conservative who has campaigned vigorously for the Party for best part of thirty years, and is well-liked and respected in the region.

The Party has also said, repeatedly, that there is a Party rule requiring the Next-in-Line to be on the MEP candidate list at the time of succession — though there is some doubt that any such list exists at all at this phase of the European parliamentary cycle.  Any such rule would, of course, make nonsense of the whole list system.  It is another bizarre attempt by CCHQ to read-across from the Westminster system, but it simply doesn’t read across.

What’s more, it is just plain not true.  I and others have studied the rules and been unable to find any such rule.  It isn’t there.  Yet Ed Young, the Party Chairman’s Chief-of-Staff, insisted repeatedly that it was so.  Let’s be generous and assume that he made an honest error — a less charitable explanation would be that he attempted a downright lie.  Pressed again and again on the issue, Ed Young finally produced two rules that clearly related to the Westminster by-election situation, and were completely irrelevant to the MEP succession process.

Any such rule would be redundant in any case, since of course Rupert was on the approved list, and was duly selected according to Party rules, in 2008.  His position on the list was confirmed and validated by around a million voters in the euro-elections of 2009.  This remains the case until the next euro-election in 2014.

It is a sad reflection on today’s Conservative Party that the Party Chairman (inexperienced as she is) should disregard due process, and defy the democratic decision of Party members and voters in the East Midlands.

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9 Responses to Why Warsi is wrong on Rupert

  1. On John Redwood’s blog yesterday the government minister in charge of railways also told a porky in parliament too. He said that EU had not made the decision to build the high speed train. It has. You can visit the site where the directives are.

    The EU seems to disregard due process and the truth in such a cavalier manner that I am not surprised the habit is seeping down into our own institutions too. A fish rots from the head downwards…….

    • Sean O'Hare says:

      Disgraceful behaviour by the tory party chairman. Hope you can resolve the stalemate soon.

      @Mike

      I would be grateful if you could post a link to the site listing those HS2 related directives as I have only been able to find those relating to HS train interoperability.

  2. Maureen Gannon says:

    What always amazes me after watching the way that the Politburo of the E.S.S.R is run why is anyone surprised at the manipulation that goes on. they are not interested in democracy how can a body run on marxist principles be democratic. we have as a country stood by and watched two democratically elected heads i.e Italy and Greece replaced by placemen, not a peep of disgust from our own politicos from any party.
    What is important to them is control, we are fed truth economy every day, from high speed trains /Thames estuary airports to the blame of all our problems being the fault of the public sector , and no mention of the truth that the banking system is as corrupt as the politburo run by Merkal and her faithful French poodle. unless your man is prepared to be a robot at their command he does not stand a chance, what is improtant is the peacocks can strut without hindrance, I just hope he has a clean sheet ,as I have no doubt if there is owt to stigma him with it will be used.

  3. Thanks Maureen. I’m afraid that Rupert does have rather a lot of black marks against his name. He’s white, male, middle-aged, eurosceptic, a family man and an ex-grammar school boy. And as a publisher, he’s published some books that Guardian readers might not like. That’s a lot of baggage — at least from the Party Chairman’s point of view.

  4. Derek says:

    It appears that some in the Party cannot stand the fact that your successor might be in many respects similar to you. I love it – controversial to the end! Why not tell them that unless they approve Rupert you will change your mind and stay on.

  5. Maureen Gannon says:

    I’ll second that Derek.

  6. Phil H says:

    Pretty much sums up why I was a Conservative party loyalist from my 18th birthday until 2009. Im now a member of UKIP.
    Cameron has destroyed your party. I have nothing but contempt for this quisling Heathite wet Europhile traitor!

  7. Peter Hulme Cross says:

    CCHQ rather reminds me of the ECJ in that they produce an interpretation of the Rules as they think they ought to be rather than as they are !
    As I said before, it’s important to stand firm on this. If they are successful in twisting the Rules once, CCHQ will do it again and again and be copied by others.

    The Lib Dems seem to have no such problems. As I understand it, Diana Wallis has been succeeded by the next on the list, Stewart Arnold, described as Policy & Communications Advisor, Parliamentary Team, on her staff. He is also her husband. How convenient is that?!

  8. Pingback: Helmer’s Bad Heir Day « Civitas

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